The Fancy Plans Guide to AFI’s Top 100 Films – Vol. 1

May 26, 2010

Following up on Fundamental Jelly’s dare from a few weeks back, it’s the first volume of our guide to the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest American films. In this volume we take on the top 5 movies of all time, with an eye on quick readability and some general laziness on my part. Enjoy!

Welles' larger-than-life portrayal of Kane was made simpler by his being four times the size of the rest of the cast.

1. Citizen Kane (1941)
The movie against which all other movies are measured. Features a twist ending in which William Randolph Hearst tortures Charles Foster Kane to give up the location of the Rosebuds, a husband-and-wife team of Communist co-conspirators. They are then burned in front of Kane to prove a point. Followed by a sequel, The Third Man. (See also #57, possibly months from now…)

A Berkeley film class re-edit relegates Bogart's role to a cameo. A cameo of supportiveness.

2. Casablanca (1942)
Loosely translated as “White House,” this bilingual romance classic still remains an all-time favorite thanks to the iconic performances of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. To wit:

“Cuando la preocupación en cuenta la forma final al comer también Rick causa estado simple pianoman, especialmente por la noche esquina programa de Nazis difíciles del día la muerte el Thundercats. Ofrecen objetivo elección enlace a veces de llegar públicos básicos murderkill del paso central por el bolsillo, porque la adhesión recta muy thoughtcrime cadena de tratar se sitúan el movimiento pequeño regalo por su vestibule. La introducción circunstancia se makout session con la influencia Rick James necesita saltar los ojos del techo de búsqueda principal deseo enseñar Superfreak de nuevo paquete de clave de bienestar recoger mar diputado kilo of cocaine.”

The Godfather strongly hints that you would be happier with a different long-distance carrier.

3. The Godfather (1972)
The prequel to the best gangster flick of all time (Casino), The Godfather is a true Italian classic, beloved by millions for its stereotypical depictions and large amount of scenery-chewing. Features brilliantly murky cinematography, a surprisingly poignant rape scene and some of Ray Harryhausen’s finest stop-motion animation. (Especially evident during Sonny’s [James Caan] ill-fated tollbooth stop on Monster Island.)

Francis Ford Coppola proved to be an “actor’s director,” coaxing brilliant performances out of otherwise unremarkable thespians as Al Pacino, Marlon Brando and Abe Vigoda. Unfortunately, Brando’s ridiculous demands for “more pastries” resulted in his character being written out of the script via an orange-related mishap. Exceedingly long.

Rhett Butler seals his "cad" reputation by briefly setting Scarlett O'Hara's hairdo on fire.

4. Gone with the Wind (1939)
Praised for its gorgeous hand painted photography and long line of collector’s plates, Gone with the Wind tells the age-old story of an ill-fated romance between a bitch and an asshole.

What sets this masterpiece apart from comparable films such as You’ve Got Mail and The Adventures of Ford Fairlane is its sweeping vistas and Civil War backdrop, the latter of which aids the thin analogies that “love is a battlefield” and “ill-fated romances are the equivalent of Sherman’s March to the Sea, only in our hearts.”

Notable for its reckless use of color, colorful language and an actual colored person in a non-singing, non-dancing role. Exceedingly long.

With the invention of aviator glasses still several years off, some privileged gentlemen battle the sun's intense rays with Lasik eye removal.

5. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
The purportedly true story of D.W. “Lawrence” Griffith, a swashbuckling director/racist whose love of colonialism was unbridled, much like a majority of the horses in this film. A grand epic in the tradition of Gone with the Wind and Epic Movie, Lawrence of Arabia utilizes its breathtaking locations and romanticized portrayal of the main character to distract viewers from the fact that they’re leaking free time all over the place while watching it. Exceedingly long.

(A note to viewers following along at home: AFI apparently tabulates their ratings via a voting system that rewards exceedingly long films. [Known as QPM, or Quality Per Minute, to insiders.])



  1. Are there any boobs shown in these movies? If there are no boobs, then there is no way these should be rated that high. BPM is a critical way to determine the value of a film. Showgirls, for instance should easily be in the top 10. (By the way, you also deduct points for movies with man butt or ding dings being shown).

    • TL!

      Out and about again, I see. Much have let you off your leash/medication again.

      As for the boobage, I think you may find a pair in the Godfather, but beyond that the AFI’s list seems to be woefully under-represented in the “sweater puppies” category.

      I may add and remove films from the list as I see fit, so there’s hope for Showgirls yet.

  2. Until I saw this list I had NO idea that in Casablanca “The introduction circumstance makout session with the Rick influence James is needed to jump the eyes of the ceiling search with the desire to teach Superfreak…” (which is what Babel Fish makes of what you told me) ….And I’m excited to know that cuz now I’m picturing a kinky makeout scene with “incense, wine and candles – and its such a *freaky* scene….”

    • Yeah, Casablanca works on many levels. Many incoherent levels. It’s a much deeper film than many people give it credit.

      Rick James, incense, ceiling eye jumping… it’s like a finely woven tapestry. Try watching it with the subtitles set to “Spanglish.”

      Thanks for the comment, Ruby2Shoes.

  3. Like a porn addict furiously surfing from site to site to find the ‘perfect action’, that’s how I feel when I click on to your blog (the “perfect action” part). And today I hit the mother lode with a post on films!! Ah, Citizen Kane. The benchmark of films (much like Frank’s Roman Pizzeria in Ashville, NC, the benchmark whereby I judge all pizza [none come close]). Several years ago, I decided to start a ‘gift box’ for my daughters. The box would be filled with memorable items and trinkets that they would open after I passed. It has been an ongoing project. One of the first items to go into the box was a DVD of Citizen Kane. CLT=Orson Welles incarnate.

    The ironic thing about this post is that in a parallel world (actually, many parallel worlds), you made it to Hollywood, and someone else wrote this post about a film you screen wrote. Fancy that.

    TL, if you had read the book The Godfather instead of watching the movie, you would have learned that one of the characters, Lucy Mancini, had a very ‘loose vagina’ and could only be satisfied by Sonny Corleone’s HUGE ‘pene’ (that’s penis in Italian) and how she “rode him like a horse.” I think this comment just went full circle…

    Can not wait for Fancy Plans Guide to Indie Films -Vol 1.

    Translation of CLT’s “to wit”…:

    “When the concern into account the final shape by eating Rick also cause simple Piano Man state, especially at night corner difficult program of the day Nazi death the Thundercats. They offer objective choice sometimes link to get basic public murderkill central passage for the pocket, because the membership very Thoughtcrime straight chain fall treat the movement small gift for your vestibule. The introduction circumstances makout session with Rick James’s influence needs to jump the eyes of the roof of the main search again Superfreak desire to teach key welfare package pick kilo of cocaine Tues deputy. “

    • Ah! Today I have officially “arrived.” Comparisons to “perfect” porn and Orson Welles don’t come around everyday. Hopefully, it’s the young, driven Orson Welles rather than the aging salesman. Either way, it’s gold.

      In a parallel universe I suppose someone could be reducing my cinematic triumph to a few misinformed sentences. Anything’s possible.

      TL: the point seems to be “read more.” I don’t think the “huge pene” translated to the screen seeing as Al Pacino played the role of Michael and he’s only about 4’9″. I assume the constant talk of riding his horselike penis would have seemed just a bit outlandish. I think there was plenty of discussion about Lucy’s canyon of a vagina. Or that may have been Scarface.

      Thanks for the comment, e3h and for the translation work. Turning it to English only seems to have made matters worse. Perhaps it should be translated into Japanese and then back into English. Any takers?

      (Stay tuned for the Fancy Plans Guide to Indie Films – arriving sometime this decade…)

    • Excellent suggestion, CLT! I took the liberty of translating into Japanese and then back to English:

      Rick by eating “in the form of interest in the account when the final death of the Nazi program Sun 1 Thundercats difficult corners of the night, specifically,` very simple condition occurs. Thoughtcrime members are very linear fall the campaign to deal with a small gift to your door, they get the main corridor to link public Murderkill basic pocket sometimes provide an objective choice. Rikkujemusu situation due to the introduction of Superfreak makout again to teach a session key welfare packages to choose sub-kilogram cocaine Tues desire, you should jump at the roof of the main search.”

      Now it’s starting to make some sense.

    • I’m surprised there weren’t more instances of the word donkey or the phrase monkey-strong bowels in the Japanese back to English version. C’est la vie.(Loosely translated that means, “Feel my skills donkey donkey donkey donkey.”)

    • I’m surprised too, Ulysses. There’s also no mention of “hut” which I understand is interchangeable with “business.”

  4. …the Lucy Mancini part may have been in the movie (not sure), but the book dealt with the subject graphically which is why I always prefer the book to the movie.

  5. an ill-fated romance between a bitch and an asshole


    • Thanks, sdaedalus.

      For a beloved film it sure features some unlikable characters. And let’s not forget the supposed Southern vistas, which really only come to life once they’re on fire. It’s as if the Deep South had the personality of Detroit.

      Thanks for the visit and comment, sdaedaulus.

  6. You’re welcome. Melanie makes up in sweetness for the three other unlikeable characters. Although I would never get on with her in real life, I do have a sneaking admiration for Scarlett & Rhett’s tenacity and will to survive though.

  7. FTW? I can’t believe I missed this! Must have been the two eye patches I was told I had to wear. (The lady at the eye patch store said they really made my eyes “reverse-pop”).

    Anyway, I have to say that I’m intrigued with the Casablanca movie. though I haven’t personally seen it (my experience with great romance films only goes back as far as 1990, the year the “Pretty Woman” was released), but your synopsis makes me wonder if maybe I’ve been missing out all these years.

    Thanks to my lower-intermediate level of Spanish (Shout-Out to Rosetta Stone!), I was able to translate your already slightly-translated synopsis:

    Cuando the preocupación en cuenta the forma final al eat también Rick causa estado simple Billy Joel, especialmente for the noche esquina programa de Jesse James difíciles del día la muerte el Dropped by Warner Brothers like a hot potato. Ofrecen object elección enlace at times de llegar públicos básicos Survivor Producer del paso central por el bolsillo, porque the adhesión recta Survivor Producer cadena de tratar se sitúan el movimiento small regalo por su vestibule. The introducción circunstancia se get a room con the influencia Eddie Murphy necesita saltar los eyes of the roof de búsqueda principal deseo enseñar SNL de nuevo package of keys de bienestar recoger mar diputado kilo of the good stuff.”

    Thanks CLT. Not only are you enlightening me on the classics (in that way only you can do), you’re helping me dust off my mad Spanish skillz.

    • “…especialmente for the noche esquina programa de Jesse James difíciles del día la muerte el Dropped by Warner Brothers like a hot potato…”


      Those Spanish folk sure know how to slam Jesse James! He deserves every nonsensical word of it, too.

      Well, needless to say, it’s great to see you, even if you are unable to reciprocate. I like the look, though. I’m pretty sure the lady at the eye store mumbled something about “robbing you blind,” but I might have just been hearing things. I certainly wasn’t seeing things.

      Thanks for stopping in and knocking over the planter in hallway, b. Hopefully your guide monkey is on its way, full of cheery helpfulness and swarming with parasites.

  8. Might as well start with the best. We should probably have a separate category for films wrote or directed by David Lynch or Charlie Kaufman. Nice opening salvo CLT.

    • I figured “Why not start at the top of the list?” That way we have nowhere to go but down.

      I’m sure this will branch off into the Lynchian and Kaufmanian (?) soon enough. E3h has already requested an indie film guide.

      Great to see you, FJ. Thanks for the comment and for talking me into it in the first place.

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